DOT Plans Safer Walking and Biking Routes to Bronx River Greenway

DOT is proposing to add a two-way, jersey barrier-protected bikeway to a block of Bruckner Boulevard that's currently a high-speed asphalt free-for-all. Image: ##

The Bronx River Greenway, threaded along the waterfront between expressways, railroad tracks and busy arterial avenues, is difficult to access for many of the surrounding South Bronx residents. A proposal from DOT [PDF] would improve park access while providing some order to the area’s streets.

“It’s hard for folks in the neighborhood to get to these parks,” said Joe Linton, greenway director for the Bronx River Alliance. “We’re going to need these on-street improvements.”

The plan has four components. The first will add a two-way barrier-protected bikeway along a block of Bruckner Boulevard, immediately adjacent to the Bruckner Expressway. It would connect a sidewalk near the southern end of Concrete Plant Park to north-south bike lanes on Bryant and Longfellow Avenues. The lane is carved out of the massive expanse of asphalt currently used for a 41-foot wide travel lane.

While this is a huge safety gain for a location that currently sees a lot of wrong-way cycling on a high-speed road, the lane connects to a pedestrian bridge across the Bruckner Expressway that has no ramps. Instead, bike riders have to carry their bikes up a sloping set of stairs.

“They can still do more to seamlessly connect it,” said Richard Gans, a volunteer on the Transportation Alternatives Bronx committee. “In general, we’re happy with the improvements that are proposed,” he added.

To the north, those improvements include adding green painted bike lanes to Edgewater Road, a frontage street immediately east and parallel to the Sheridan Expressway. Until phase two of Starlight Park is completed (a bureaucratic tangle currently stands in the way), Edgewater Road will be the best connection between Concrete Plant Park and Starlight Park’s first phase, which recently opened to the north. Even after phase two is open, this will remain the most direct route for many residents accessing the parks.

In addition to new bike lanes on Edgewater Road, Westchester Avenue and Bruckner Boulevard, intersections marked above are slated for safety improvements. Image: ##,-73.878765&spn=0.022049,0.02871&t=m&z=15&lci=bike##Google Maps##

Westchester Avenue will receive striped bike lanes and shared lanes between Bryant Avenue and Bronx River Avenue; the dedicated lanes will give way to sharrows where stanchions from the elevated 6 train narrows the lane widths. The road will also receive striping to channelize traffic flow; currently, there is minimal striping to indicate where drivers should go.

Intersections will also get safety treatments. Edgewater Road and Westchester Avenue will receive a short two-way buffered bike lane to provide a connection between the greenway in Concrete Plant Park and the new bike lanes on Edgewater Road.

The intersection of Westchester Avenue and Whitlock Avenue, which currently has long crossings for passengers trying to access the elevated 6 train, will receive painted pedestrian islands and bulb-outs.

To the east, where Westchester Avenue crosses Bronx River Avenue, a slip lane from Close Avenue will be converted to pedestrian space. A corner of the intersection’s existing concrete island will be shaved off so that trucks currently using the slip lane will be able to turn from Close Avenue to Bronx River Avenue.

The proposals came about after a site visit DOT hosted last summer with the Bronx River Alliance. A video produced after the site visit shows the dangerous street conditions near the greenway. Nearby residential areas in Claremont received the city’s first Slow Zone treatment in 2011.

DOT presented the proposals to committees of Community Boards 2 and 9 in mid-January but has not yet received supportive votes from the full boards. CB 9’s public service committee chair William Rivera tells Streetsblog that he will bring up the proposal for a vote at the committee’s March 19 meeting, after which it could advance to the full board on March 21.

Streetsblog has inquiries in with DOT and CB 2 for more information. Implementation could begin as early as this spring, according to Linton, but DOT has not confirmed a timeline.


DOT crews installing a new barrier-protected bike lane on Bruckner Boulevard between Bryant Avenue and Faile Street. Photo: Twitter/NYC DOT

DOT Closes Short Bike Lane Gap on Bruckner Blvd — Next Phase Scheduled for 2021

DOT crews have started to fill in a dangerous three-block gap in the bikeway on Bruckner Boulevard in the South Bronx, creating a more continuous link to Concrete Plant Park. The ultimate goal is a direct, uninterrupted bike route on Bruckner Boulevard connecting to Manhattan and Randall's Island via 138th Street, but under the agency's current timetable Bronxites will have to wait several years for that.

Bruckner Boulevard Protected Bikeway Clears Bronx CB 2 Committee

A DOT plan to add pedestrian space and create a two-way protected bikeway along a key half-mile stretch of Bruckner Boulevard received a unanimous thumbs-up from Bronx Community Board 2’s economic development committee Wednesday night [PDF]. “Bruckner Boulevard is a very wide, multi-lane boulevard,” said DOT project manager Kimberly Rancourt. “It has lots of traffic but […]

Protected Bike Lanes Will Connect South Bronx to Randall’s Island

Last fall, the city opened a direct car-free connection between the South Bronx and Randall’s Island. The Randall’s Island Connector provides convenient access to acres of parks and ballfields and — via the 103rd Street footbridge — Manhattan. But the truck-heavy industrial streets that lead to it still leave a lot to be desired. A new NYC DOT project would create bicycle […]

One City, By Bike: Bill de Blasio’s Bike Network

This is part three of a five-part series by former NYC DOT policy director Jon Orcutt about the de Blasio administration’s opportunities to expand and improve cycling in New York. Read part one and part two. Applied to cycling, Mayor de Blasio’s “two cities” campaign theme would argue that the safety and accessibility benefits conveyed by bike lanes in […]

City Close to Recommending Surface Road Replacement for Sheridan

The city is close to recommending that the Sheridan Expressway, a short, sparsely-used interstate that community activists have targeted for removal for years, be transformed into a street-level roadway that opens land for new development and improves neighborhood access to parks along the Bronx River. The news came Tuesday night at a public meeting attended by […]